Sand Mining

After water, sand is the most widely used natural resource.

Sand is mined, smuggled, and stolen, and the impacts of this have far-reaching socio-political, economic and environmental implications, accelerating coastal erosion, and destroying ecosystems that are relied upon by coastal communities for their very existence.

February 20, 2023

The sands of Tràigh Baile a' Mhuilinn (by Rob Farrow CC BY-SA 2.0 via

Beaches on Scotland’s ‘Hawaii of the North’ at risk after sand stolen – The Telegraph

The sand of Tiree in the Hebrides is being removed on an industrial scale by ‘greedy’ islanders, claim landowners

With its stunning white crystal sands, it is known as “Hawaii of the North”. But beachcombers are said to be removing the famous sands of Tiree in the Hebrides on an industrial scale. Landowner Argyll Estates suspects sand is being “stolen” by “greedy” islanders under cover of darkness. Reports also suggest that it is “the more affluent residents” who are involved – “so the reasons for this may not always be hardship but perhaps greed,” Argyll Estates factor Hugh Nicol wrote in a letter to the Assembly of this month Tiree Municipal Council…


More on Sand Mining . . .

USACE project Sand Replenishment 5.5 mile strech of Anna Maria Island, FL (by Carol VanHook CC BY-SA 2.0 via Flickr).

The global impact of sand mining on beaches and dunes – Ocean & Coastal Management

Beaches and coastal dunes have always supplied sand for a wide range of uses, and initially the extracted volumes were limited to buckets, wheelbarrows, or small pickup truck loads. However, starting in the late twentieth century, and thanks to urban development, especially for coastal tourism, coastal and river sand has been extracted at an accelerated pace, and on a much grander scale…

Satellite view of the Olifants River Estuary, South Africa (image via Google Earth: Maxar Technologies AfriCIS(Pty) Ltd CNES / Airbus Data SIO, NOAA; U.S. Navy, NGA, GEBCO Terrametrics).

Surfers, miners fight over South Africa’s white beaches – PHYS.ORG

Diamonds, zircon and other minerals have long been extracted in the sandy coastline near the Olifants river, which flows into the Atlantic about 300 kilometres (180 miles) north of Cape Town.

But plans to expand the mining have angered surfers, animal lovers and residents in this remote, sparsely populated region—and they are pushing back with lawsuits and petitions.

Mekong River to Cu Lao Gieng (January) Island (by Ted Mcgrath CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 via Flickr)

Mining the Mekong: Land and livelihoods lost to Cambodia’s thirst for sand – MONGABAY

“We would argue that sand mining is having as big, if not a bigger impact on the delta and Cambodian reaches. It’s been shown to be the biggest driver of saline intrusion in the delta, and resulting in enhanced bank erosion more so than hydropower,”

– Chris Hackney (University of Newcastle), Julian Leyland and Steve Darby (University of Southampton)

Coastal Sand Mining Awareness Campaign poster created by Awaaz Foundation and BNHS for the UN Convention on Biodiversity Conference in Hyderabad, India 2012 (uploaded by Sumaira Abdulali, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia)

Why beach sand mining is so dangerous – Times of India

Beach sand mining has been illegal since 1991 when the Coastal Regulation Zone Rules were first notified thirty years ago. Although illegal mining on beaches has continued nevertheless, the scale has been comparatively lesser than in rivers, where it has devasted entire swathes of land and water. Major Indian rivers like the Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari and Kaveri face existential threat…

Illegal sand mining eroding Morocco’s coastline and tourism

Tourism is essential to Morocco’s economy, and its beautiful beaches are a vital part of the attraction for visitors. In an ironic Catch-22 situation, however, meeting the demands of this industry is indirectly destroying the very coastline that tourists are coming to enjoy.

no more posts . . .